Manchester United earned another comeback win on the road, beating West Ham 3-1 to make it four wins in a row in the Premier League. Ole had to bring on Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford at half-time, and lost Martial to injury in the second half, but the Road Warrior Reds find a way yet again.
It was a bit of a scary start for the Red Devils, and for Dean Henderson, who had to stop an attempt by Fornals point blank just over a minute into the match. The defense got away with one as they turned it over and allowed the Spaniard in after a blocked Bowen shot. This set the tone for the early period of the game, as the Hammers pressed often, causing United quite a few problems trying to get play the ball up the field meaningfully. They looked to play the ball forward quickly, and Bowen scored off of a ball over the top, but was flagged for offside.
After about 20 minutes United settled down a bit in possession, and began to move closer to the West Ham goal. The absence of Bruno was felt in midfield, but Van De Beek and Pogba began to settle in as the creators in the side, with McTominay anchoring the midfield. West Ham continued to threaten on the counter attack however, and Fornals nearly headed home off of Bowen’s cross on the counter around the half hour mark. A few minutes later Fornals hit the post, cementing West Ham’s control of momentum.
United conceded on a corner in the 38th minute. Soucek tapped it in off of Rice’s glancing header, and made it the fourth game in a row that United conceded off of a set-piece. Haller should’ve made it 2-0 just moments after the restart, rounding Henderson only to slip in front of goal. Bowen made a run in as well, but was denied by a brilliant Wan-Bissaka tackle. A Martial shot on target was the only positive sign of life from United’s blunt attack in the first half, a half which mercifully ended before West Ham could capitalize again on their flurry of chances. 1-0 at the break, and it could have been much worse for the Reds.
Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, irregular substitutes, were brought on for Edinson Cavani and Donny Van De Beek at halftime as Ole looked to salvage the match. The front three for most of United’s unbeaten run to end last season was given the reins to rescue points, facing yet another comeback test on the road this season.
The move didn’t have an immediate impact, and again West Ham should have scored a second, but Bowen couldn’t arrive accurately on the end of a dangerous ball across United’s defense. Maguire of all people got off a shot from range, but didn’t really trouble Fabianski. Greenwood connected well from range as well, but it hit Martial and deflected away on it’s way towards goal. McTominay hit the side netting as well after a nice counter attack run by Rashford, sprung by Maguire. Still a nervy game from United, but they were beginning to show signs of life.
Then, off of a Dean Henderson ball down the channel, Bruno cut in and set up Paul Pogba outside the box, and the Frenchman scored an absolute beauty from distance to bring United level. Somehow the net stayed intact after the rocket of a shot from Pogba, and United were back in it. VAR reviewed the build up for a potential ball out of bounds, but decided that Henderson’s ball through hadn’t crossed the line.
Mason Greenwood made it 2-1 just minutes later, taking in a heavy pass from Telles well, and then turning and shooting with the ease and composure of a seasoned striker. Bruno, brilliant since coming on, created a flurry of chances that could have made it 3. Rashford and Greenwood each had some opportunities, hitting the post and side netting respectively, but the former finally converted a third in the 77th. Bruno found Mata, who sent a brilliant pass through the defense into Rashford’s path, and the forward lifted it calmly over Fabianski.
West Ham had lost total control, after creating a number of chances in the first half, and early in the second half. Cresswell hit a free kick well, but Dean Henderson read it and got across in time to make a great save. United never looked very uncomfortable again, and what could have been a really bad loss turned into yet another comeback win on the road.
United needed a bounce-back after the loss midweek, and go to Leipzig with another encouraging performance under their belt.